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' No, no way…'

"Hey! I know you can hear me! You have the nerve to ignore me!"


It was hard to believe at first glance, but it seemed that the owner of the voice was the little bird in front of her.

 Ortansia hurriedly crouched down to listen to what the little bird had to say.

Perhaps pleased with her attitude, the bird came closer to Ortansia.

"I haven't seen a human being here for a long time. Where did you come from?"

"Well... from the Duke of Verité's basement."

"The Verite family! That's a name I've missed."

The little bird flapped its wings in flight and settled on Ortansia's shoulder.

"I also spent time with a child of the Verite family a long time ago."

"Oh, really?"

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"Yes, it's true. I protected her until the day she drew her last breath."

The little bird didn't say much, but her gentle eyes, nostalgic for the old days, seemed to convey the deep love towards the Verite family.

"I understand… for a child of the Verite family to come here, You are looking for a spirit to make a contract with, right?"

"Yes, yes!"

"Hmmm, that's how it is"

The little bird flew around Ortensia as if it were an item.

Then it landed on Ortansia's shoulder again and pointed in a certain direction with its wings.

"There's a very lively girl here. I am sure she's probably bored being here all the time, so I'll introduce her to you.

"Thank you!"

The conversation went smoothly, and Ortansia was relieved.

'But maybe I'm indeed not of the Duke of Verité blood.'

The reason the Spirit bird had been so kind to her was probably because it thought that Ortansia was "Duchess of Verite".

But in reality, Ortansia was not certain if she was related to her father by blood.

Officially, she was treated as a "Duchess," but that was probably not what was important to the spirits.

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'They might be disappointed if they find out I am not from the Duke of Verite family'

Since that was the case, she decided to reveal her true identity immediately.

But looking at the little bird chirping happily, she couldn't bring herself to say it.

'Huh, my cowardice.'

Disappointed with her own inadequacy, Ortansia slowly continued on her way.

 Eventually, she arrived at a place where a series of stone pillars stood as if they were ruins.

In the center of it, a breathtakingly beautiful white panther laid quietly.

'Like the snow leopard I saw in the illustrated book.'

Ortansia forgot about the situation and was transfixed by the beauty of the snow leopard.

The snow leopard quietly raised its head, perhaps noticing Ortansia's footsteps.

"Well... This is an unusual guest," she said.

The snow leopard got up with a sleigh and slowly approached Ortansia.

Overwhelmed by its beauty and intimidation, Ortansia hurriedly bowed on the spot.

"Nice to meet you! My name is Ortansia!"

As if in response to Ortansia's bow, the little bird flew out from Ortansia's shoulder and landed in front of the snow leopard.

"This child is the daughter of the Duke of Verite. They're looking for a spirit to make a contract with, so how about that naughty boy?"

"Well, that's..."

Hearing the little bird's story, the snow leopard looked up to the sky and cawed high in the air as if calling for something.

Shortly after…

"What is it? Is it important ?"

A small shadow rushed from across the snowfield.

 As it approached, the figure was revealed, and Ortansia's eyes involuntarily lit up.

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'Oh my God, it's so cute!'

It was a small snow leopard cub that came running toward her, its fur fluffy and curled up like a puppy with  lovely round eyes.

It had little fangs and paws as cute as little loaves of bread.

At first sight, Ortansia was captivated by the little snow leopard in front of her.

"Who is this? I've never seen this human before."

The Snow leopard cub came up to her feet and looked up at her with glazed eyes.

"I am the Duchess of Verité, and my name is Ortansia."

"Orta, Cee ......?"

Apparently, the pronunciation may have been a little difficult for the leopard.

Ortansia giggled and gently bent down to make eye contact.

"Sia is fine. That's what I used to be called."

"I see. Nice to meet you, Sia!"

The snow leopard cub lifted his paw in a good mood.

Ortansia gently laced her fingertips together with its paws and felt the soft texture of the paw pads.

"Heh heh heh…"

"By the way, Ortansia."

"Uhm, yes!"

"You still haven't told me why you are seeking a contract with a spirit."

The snow leopard's clear blue eyes were staring at her.

Ortansia swallowed, feeling as if she was looking into the depths of her heart.

"Not too long ago..., I was in danger. I almost died, and I couldn't stop others from being killed."

The horrific scene, which had been sealed away in the back of her memory, brought back the harrowing exclamations.

'I don't want that to happen again.'

"That's why I want to become stronger. In order not to face something like that again, next time I'll be able to protect someone... someone important to me."

Translator: wow, you really like this… Brother Ortansia 😳

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